As much as I like making plans to go out and socialize, I equally take time to be present and stop to smell the roses. The city of Claremont has taught me to not just “go, go, go” but rather stop for a moment and take a beat to enjoy the beautiful world that surrounds you. I learned that by taking time to sit, put the phone down for even 15 minutes and reflect on my own thoughts and feelings helps me come to realizations, spark new and creative ideas, think more clearly, and bring more inner peace. Doesn’t that sound so nice? Well It’s easier said than done. I started by taking an hour out of my Saturday and/or Sunday, usually after having my first cup of coffee at Some Crust Bakery and walked to various outdoor places and literally just sat. I’d usually put my phone away while sitting, look around me, honor the thoughts that come and go, work out some inner qualms, and think about what inspires me or makes me whole and happy. After doing that for about 6 months or so it started becoming more of a routine and now, after 4 years, it’s a must! Here are outdoor places in Claremont that are conducive for clearing your mind, being present with your thoughts, and they just might spark joy, gratefulness, and creativity in you too!
Stanley Academic Quadrangle AKA “The Fountain”. I found out about this spot when I was chatting with a local that I see every weekend morning at Some Crust Bakery. I was telling her I was looking for some new spots to sit and drink my coffee since Some Crust Bakery can get a bit crowded on weekend mornings. The first place she mentioned was “fountain” at Pomona College that can be accessed by going North on Harvard Ave and taking a right on 4th street and on your left, you’ll see a beautiful fountain with 7 benches surrounding it. She was describing the picturesque scenery and pleasant sounds of water flowing and I knew I had to see this fountain- like that day! I followed her instructions and lo and behold there it was- the Stanley Academic Quadrangle. Instantly I knew this was my new favorite thinking spot! I highly recommend taking a stroll to the fountain and sitting down to watch the flowing waters, charming architecture that manicured gardens and get lost in your own thoughts and feelings. You may even have an epiphany – who knows!
Shelton Park. I adore this cute, little pocket park right smack in the middle of the Claremont Village on Harvard Ave and Bonita. I just love to mosey on over to Shelton Park after grabbing my second cup of coffee at Crème Bakery. I make it a part of my weekend coffee routine to take a few moments peace at Shelton Park. This park has a nice green belt to set up a small picnic, chase after your little ones, or play with the pups. There’s a small stage where musicians perform for a concert series in the park during summertime. This park features a sculpture from a former Claremont resident, John Fisher to be exact (thanks Google!). I have yet to figure out the stone that it’s carved out of but I love to sit and marvel at this gigantic work of art and think “how the heck did he carve that thing!?” Shelton Park is surrounded by native California plants, blooming pink trees, and an almighty Weeping Willow to complete the scene. It’s perfect to sit and people watch or just simply take a few moments to sit on a park bench.
The Seaver House’s Not So Secret Garden. The beauty of the Seaver House is just one of the 101 reasons why I love the City of Trees. The Seaver House is a part of Pomona College and it’s the home of the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement on the corner of College Ave and Bonita. Just a stone’s throw away from Shelton Park. What many may not know is there is an unbelievable garden tucked away to the northern side of the house called The Richardson Garden. I was already living in Claremont for 4 years before I happened upon this garden! Where have I been!? There is a gate that leads to it that remains closed, but it’s not locked. You can also just walk on through by entering the front side of the Seaver House. When you walk in the garden you just have to stop and take every moment in. It’s perfectly landscaped and has a 360-degree view of plants, trees, grass, and manicured hedges. There are statues throughout and if you go exploring, you’ll find a time capsule. Yes, a time capsule! It was buried in 1994 and is to be unearthed 100 years later in 2094. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to read the stone where the time capsule is buried to ponder about the things that might be buried in there. I’ll never know but that’s the beauty in the mystery.
Scripps College. Scripps College is a part of the prestigious Claremont College and is often referred to as one of the most beautiful college campuses in America. It’s certainly the most beautiful college campus I’ve ever laid eyes on. For me there are two words to describe it: insanely beautiful. The architecture throughout Scripps College is Mediterranean or Spanish Gothic style filled with walled gardens, manicured lawns, hedges, courtyards, citrus trees, and palm trees. You’re literally transported to a movie set! Honestly, it’s the perfect place to get proposed to *gasp*. I typically take casual walks throughout the campus and sit in the gigantic green belt right outside of the Denison Library. The library is built to look reminiscent of a Renaissance chapel in Spain with interior characteristics like gothic vaulted ceilings, hand carved details, and a huge stained-glass window. I recommend taking a stroll through Scripps College. You’ll want to pack a picnic and stay awhile because the views here are breathtaking.
Green Belt outside of Bridges Auditorium. The Bridges Auditorium is at the center of Pomona College with an expansive greenbelt right outside of the auditorium that can be seen and accessed from College Ave. Every time I go, I see people exercising, having a picnic, playing with their dogs, chasing their kiddos, or even catching some z’s in the shade. It’s truly a place to sit, slow down, and be present with the surroundings. It’s perfect to play Frisbee, fly a kite, play catch, workout on the grass, or anything else for that matter! The best part is looking at the enormous trees that surround the greenbelt - you can’t miss it.
I know there are 101 peaceful and serene spots to clear your mind in Claremont - that’s the beauty of this city. Where are the places you go to clear your mind and why? Let’s chat about it in the comments.
Ciao for now.
Photography Credits: All photos were taken by the author of this blog.